The Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg features articles, reviews and news of interest to lawyers and other legal professionals. This blog is published by Ted Brooks, a Trial Presentation and Legal Technology Consultant, Author and Speaker. Ted's trial experience includes the Los Angeles Dodgers divorce trial, People v. Robert Blake murder trial, and a hundreds of high profile, high value and complex civil matters.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trial Tech Tips - TrialDirector Bates Numbering

This article is the first in a series entitled “Trial Tech Tips.” Focused on the crossroads of law and technology, and in no particular order, we will share a collection of proven and tested methods for accomplishing a wide variety of common and/or critical tasks encountered during trial preparation or presentation. We will also try to rank them from one to ten on a “geek scale,” with one being not too technical, and 10 being very technical.

On a geek scale of one to ten, this article would be rated at about an 8.

In litigation, it is generally a good idea to make sure that when a certain document is referred to, it is that exact document, and not another version of the same. In situations where there are more than one, and it can be proven, it can result in an interesting trial.

Bates numbering has been around for some time, and is one good method of making sure that everyone is on the same page – literally. Through the years, inked stamps have been used, printed stickers, and nowadays the method most commonly used adds them via software – generally in the lower right corner of each page. Although the most efficient methods can handle a large volume all in one operation, this can also be done at the individual document level.

There are many reasons for adding a Bates number to your exhibits, and there are many for adding yet another Bates number. For instance, if your exhibits have already been numbered according to document productions, it may be helpful to add another set of numbering tied to trial exhibit numbers. This makes it easier for counsel, judges, witnesses and jurors to quickly get to any given exhibit page. Rather than having some lengthy production-based Bates number (e.g., PLTF000024) that may or may not be followed by its next numerical page (PLTF000025) when used in a trial exhibit, we can simply make reference to the trial exhibit and page number (e.g., 0178-002 would be trial exhibit 178, page 2). In this article, we will show how to do this using TrialDirector software.

We’ll begin with an exhibit or a group of exhibits we’d like to export to PDF with a new Bates number.

If you will use the document ID in the database, you’re ready to export. If you need to add an exhibit field or trial exhibit field, you can do so as a batch process (Tools/Batch Field Fill Selected Items/Trial Exhibit).

If you are only doing this for one document, you can do it by right-clicking the document ID and accessing the Properties dialog.

Once you have the proper fields populated for your Bates numbering, you can select one or a group of exhibits, right click and select the “Make PDF from Selected Items” dialog.

Make sure the “Print with Page Footers” option is selected, and you may set up which field to use as your new Bates number. Notice the new trial exhibit Bates page number at the bottom right of the document.

If this seems like something just a bit outside of your comfort zone, at least you know that it can be done, and roughly how it is handled. In our next article in this series, we’ll aim toward the other end of the geek scale.